NY Lawmakers Back Off Takeout on Bets

State lawmakers in New York have backed off on a looming law raising the takeout on bets made on out-of-state Thoroughbred races, a move the industry said would have put the state at a competitive disadvantage with other states.

Still occurring, though, is a one-percent, across-the-board takeout increase on all wagering on bets made on New York Racing Association races and wagers made at the state’s OTB parlors. The takeout hike is effective September 15.

On hold until next March 15 is what was supposed to be a corresponding one-percent takeout increase on bets made within New York State on races conducted in other states. The new date is meant to coincide with a March 1 deadline for a task force to report back with proposed reforms to the state’s much-criticized OTB system of wagering.

Out-of-state betting firms were upset with the takeout increase New York was trying to impose on them. Some out-of-state tracks also entered the scene saying New York’s move was an unprecedented attempt by one state to affect betting across borders. Industry officials in New York feared retaliatory moves by other states, as well as undercutting that could occur with the one-percent takeout hike imposed by New York.

The delay until next March was slipped into a massive budget cutting bill approved Sept. 20 by the state Legislature.

New York industry officials say the takeout hike would not have raised the $7 million the state estimated it would bring for the industry. The takeout increase was part of a package from earlier this year intended to bail out New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. The state then took over the operations of the NYCOTB.

NYCOTB had been pushing to eliminate the takeout, though had quietly sought a surcharge on bets made in parlors. That does not appear in the new budget bill approved by lawmakers and which Gov. David Paterson has agreed to sign.

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